Thursday, January 30, 2014

Getting Ready for Baby (and the Superbowl)

With baby number three on the way, I've been doing my fair share of organizing and cleaning.  It all started last Christmas, when I decided there was no better time than the present to start making things baby-ready. At that time, the nursery was being used as a playroom for the boys, so with a little creativity, a lot of shuffling, and a ton of help from my husband, we moved the "big boy" toys to the basement and turned the playroom back into a proper nursery.  And so the room sits, waiting for sweet baby number three, not due until the beginning of May.

The room actually came together pretty easily this time, primarily because we're having our third boy and we don't really need anything new.  We still had the old crib (a lovely custom-made piece from a past client), a classic white Pottery Barn changing table, super-functional Ikea bookcase, and a neutral sofa left over from a home staging project.  The sofa had been hanging out in the room when it was a playroom, and since I had no other place to put it, it stayed.  Hopefully it will feel useful for middle-of-the-night feedings, snuggling with baby, and hanging out during play time.

This might surprise some of you, but I didn't even repaint the walls.  The room already had blue and green stripes from the time it served as my second son's nursery.  I sort of figured it was good enough and left the walls as-is.  The only thing that is really new in there is the graphic patterned rug.  I purchased it for another room, then decided I liked it better in the nursery.  I can already see how this works--when you're the third born, you get all the left-overs and hand-me-downs.  I'm going to have to make a conscious effort to make sure there are moments when the third child gets things that are new and fresh, "just because."

So anyway, I'm feeling good about having the baby's room ready three months before the due date, and now I have time on my hands, or at least nesting instincts in need of an outlet.  Consequently, I've moved on to other areas....the kitchen, my office and the family room, to name a few.  In the coming weeks, I will try to share some sneak peeks into the progress being made in those areas.  Hopefully we'll have things ship shape by the time the little man makes his big debut.

As a side note, I think my boys are more excited about the fact that the Seahawks are playing in the Superbowl this Sunday than they are about the impending arrival of a little one.  I'm sure they will turn the new guy (our little rookie), into a proper fan in no time.  They're even suggesting baby names that have a familiar ring to them: Marshawn, Tarvaris, Golden, Russell, etc.  Hmmm...not quite what I had in mind.  They also have the baby's jersey picked out--a Christmas gift that now seems even more appropriate.

Go Hawks!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Swedish Dreams

Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter (2012) Poster

In my third trimester of pregnancy, I have my share of sleepless nights. When I can't sleep, I often resort to watching instant downloads on Netflix.  I enjoy watching crime thrillers, provided they aren't too scary or graphic,  and recently I stumbled on a Swedish series that I really like, called "Annika Bengzton: Crime Reporter." It's a little like watching CSI, but in Swedish.  The Swedish language is beautiful to listen to and I find the background settings and architecture fascinating, almost as much as the story lines themselves.  This has got me thinking about Swedish interiors.

What I find most interesting about Swedish homes, is the use the use of white throughout.  Whether the home be traditional or contemporary, you can pretty much bet that the walls and woodwork will be white.  I wonder if the Swedes prefer to use so much white because they need it to counteract the abundance of dark, gray days during the winter? (You see much of this in the show.)  In any case, the effect is very airy and ethereal, giving the impression of space, light, and cleanliness.  I'm drawn to this because so often I feel weighted down by the visual clutter that goes hand in hand with a house full of kids.

The homes also have a refreshing simplicity to them.  Furnishings appear to be selected for practical reasons and not merely for aesthetics or image, as is often the case in American homes.  Even when individual pieces are a bit more decorative or ornate, they sit very simply in the room, like a pearl necklace pared with a white and denim jeans.  This allows you to enjoy the beauty of each piece on it's own, rather than seeing the whole room as a complicated arrangement or composition.  Fancy pieces sit comfortably alongside the old and well-worn, without any pretense or apology.  The effect is an irresistible homeyness that says "welcome--come and sit a while."

Mix and Chic: Charming and chic Swedish interiors! (Part 1)

Swedish Interior

Swedish grandfather clock - one day in my stately home I'll have one, for sure!

Also interesting to me is how warm these homes feel in spite of all the white.  Usually when I think "warm" I image color.  But these homes achieve warmth through the use of texture and aged materials.  Look at enough Swedish interiors and you'll start to notice these commonalities: wide plank wood flooring, whitewashed tongue and groove wall paneling, sisal rugs, woven baskets, cracking plaster walls, and painted furniture, often worn, chipped and rustic looking.  All this texture balances out the white, giving a sense of coziness and warmth.  I like that imperfections like nicks and dings only add to the elegance.  As of mom of two (soon to be three) wild boys, I embrace this! Perfection has no place in my home's vocabulary.

Swedish Interior

Soft white space with vintage accents. amazing rug against vertical boards.

warm woods and whites

my scandinavian home: White with a little unique touch

Swedish interior design magazine -  Skona Hem

Another thing I love about Swedish interiors is the carefree way old and new, high-end and low-end are intermingled.  You'll see a midcentery modern chair, paired alongside a Gustavian antique.  Or an Ikea light-fixture in an elegant, old-world apartment.  There is an underlying confidence in all this mixing and somehow the end result comes off as very chic.  While I think I'm pretty eclectic in my design tastes, these rooms bring that idea to a whole new level.

photo 66_zps2933576d.jpg

Interior design book | Reflections on Swedish Interiors @Stefania@coolchicstyle

Swedish Interior30

Swedish Interior - lookslikewhite Blog - lookslikewhite

So my final take-aways are these: embrace imperfections, consider white the perfect backdrop, and always remember texture-texture-texture.  We could all learn a thing or two from the Swedes, especially with all the gray days we have here in Seattle.